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What Happened in 1955 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What Happened in 1955 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture James Dean's stars in the movie East of Eden, Rosa Parks is arrested, The St. Lawrence Seaway opens, US military intervention in Iran, Rock and Roll music popularity increases featuring Elvis Presley , Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and The Platters

1955 consumerism takes off in a big way with the sale of some 7.9 million cars in the US with 7 out of 10 families now owning a motor car, and new laws were put in place requiring seat belts to be installed on all new cars. The average wages were now $3,851 per year, and the minimum wage was raised to $1.00 per hour. The first McDonalds was erected in 1955 and more fast foods and TV dinners are appearing including fish fingers. The first cans of Coca-Cola are sold up till then it had only been sold in bottles. Rock and Roll music continues to grow in popularity with more idols including Elvis Presley , Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and The Platters, and young men's fashion matches the times with pink shirts and charcoal grey suits.

Cost of Living 1955 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 0.28%

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.5%

Average Cost of new house $10.950.00

Average wages per year - $4.130.00

Minimum Hourly Rate $1.00

Average Monthly Rent $87.00 per month

Average Cost of a new car $1,900.00

gallon of Gas 23 cents

Ladies Swim Suits $12.95

Black and White TV $99.95

Average House Price UK - 2,064

United States --- The USS Nautilus

The USS Nautilus becomes the first operational nuclear powered submarine when it casts off on its first true voyage in January.

More Information and Timeline for the USS Nautilus.

The USS Nautilus submarine was put to sea for the first time on January 17th . The USS Nautilus was the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. It was authorized for construction in 1951 by the United States Congress and commissioned into service for the United States Navy while it neared completion in 1954. As it made its first real voyage in January , Commander Eugene Wilkinson relayed the historic message of "Underway On Nuclear Power." The USS Nautilus continued operating until it was decommissioned in March of 1980 and during its time in service it impressively broke many submarine records and completed several important research and naval missions.

United States --- Salk's Polio Vaccine

Jonas Salk's polio vaccine is declared safe and effective in April.

More Information for Salk's Polio Vaccine.

In April , it was announced to the world that Jonas Salk's polio vaccine was determined to be safe and highly effective in preventing the disease. Salk had started to develop the vaccine in 1952 and the trials began in 1954. By 1957, the vaccine was more widely available and the number of new cases of polio had dramatically declined. In 1962, a new, more effective oral polio vaccination was created by Albert Sabin and quickly replaced Salk's vaccine. The creation of these vaccines nearly eradicated the formerly rampant illness and now in most developed countries there are only a handful of cases each year.

United States --- The Mickey Mouse Club

"The Mickey Mouse Club" debuts on ABC.

More Information for the Mickey Mouse Club.

In October the original Mickey Mouse Club television program made its debut on ABC. The show was billed as a variety show for children and would feature cartoons, educational segments and serials like "The Hardy Boys" and "Spin and Marty." The show also featured child actors as "Mouseketeers" who would perform in musical and dance numbers as well as the other segments. The original run of the Mickey Mouse Club lasted four seasons until it was canceled in 1959 and would feature a rotation of 39 different "Mouseketeers."

Middle East -- Baghdad Pact.

Middle Eastern nations and the United Kingdom form a cooperative pact similar to NATO.

More Information and Timeline for the Baghdad Pact.

In February the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) is formed after the Baghdad Pact is agreed upon by Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the United Kingdom. It was also known as the Middle East Treaty Organization and its purpose was to created a structure similar to NATO in which the participating countries would agree to protect each other, cooperate on trade and military issues, and agree to not interfere in each other's affairs. The organization was largely unsuccessful and in 1959 Iraq left the pact. The United States had limited involvement in the alliance but eventually joined the military committee. The pact was used as an anti-Soviet alliance during the Cold War but did not make much of a difference on the USSR's influence on the Middle East. The Baghdad Pact officially ended in 1979.

Russia -- Warsaw Pact

The Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies sign the Warsaw Pact on May 14th integrating the military, economic and cultural policy between the eight Communist nations.

More Information for the Warsaw Pact.

On May 14th News Events the Soviet Union and seven of its Eastern Bloc allies sign the Warsaw Pact in Poland. The seven Soviet satellites that took part in the deal with the Soviet Union included Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. The Warsaw Pact treaty set up a mutual defense agreement between the eight members and was created as a response to the Western formation of NATO and their inclusion of West Germany during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact remained intact with six of the original eight members until 1991 when the Soviet Union fell apart and was dissolved.

United States -- Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, an African-American bus passenger, is arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama.

More Information for the Montgomery Bus Boycott / Browder v. Gayle
1. Claudette Colvin (15) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws on March 2, in Montgomery, Alabama.
2. Aurelia Browder (37) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws on April 19, in Montgomery, Alabama.
3. Mary Louise Smith (18) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws on October 21, in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin, Browder, and Smith were all arrested for refusing to give up their seats to white passengers.
4. Rosa Parks (42) refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger on December 1, . Parks is arrested for violation Alabama segregation laws by refusing to follow orders from the bus driver. Parks becomes a figurehead for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement due to her image as a respected member of the community and her involvement with the NAACP.
5. The Montgomery Bus Boycott by African-American citizens began in December of after Parks is convicted. The boycott is led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
6. The NAACP files the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit testing the legality of Alabama bus segregation on February 1, 1956. Colvin, Browder, and Smith are all plaintiffs in the case which is directed against the Mayor of Montgomery, W.A. Gayle.
7. During April of 1956 bus companies begin implementing desegregation in several Southern cities.
8. A Federal District Court rules that bus segregation violates the Fourteenth Amendment in the Browder v. Gayle case on June 5, 1956.
9. The US Supreme Court upholds the District Court decision with no dissenting opinion on November 13, 1956. This essentially dismantles the "Separate but Equal" racial segregation standard set by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case.
10. In December of 1956 the US Supreme Court rejects further appeals of the Browder case.
11. The Montgomery Bus Boycott ends on December 21, 1956 after the Browder ruling takes effect. African-American citizens of Montgomery return to the buses and desegregate the bus service.
12. It is also important to note that the desegregation efforts were met with resistance from many white citizens who would retaliate, often violently, against black passengers during the following years. Many of the leaders of the boycott movement were targeted and many random attacks were also reported on the buses or at the bus stops.

Part of our Fashion Collection From this Year

Reversible Jacket 1955 Reversible Jacket
Price: $9.75
Two jackets in one... both sides repel water. Twice as handsome, twice as serviceable as an ordinary jacket. Colorful argyle pattern side reverses to rich, solid color side. Tailored from water repellent, crease resistant rayon and acetate sheen gabardine. Slash pockets on argyle side; flap chest pockets on solid color side. Elastic inserts at waist sides. Plain back. Color combinations are charcoal and pink, beige and brown, or brown and copper.

Part of our Collection of Toys From this Year

Farm Stake Tonka Truck From The 1950s Farm Stake Tonka Truck
Manufacturer: Tonka
Price: $3.98
Realistic in every detail... right down to its rear wheels with mud flaps! Small-fry farmers find it ideal to haul any load. The stake panels come out for the big jobs. Made of tough, heavy gauge metal.

1955 Popular Culture

Ray Kroc starts the McDonald's fast food restaurant chain.

First riot at an Elvis Presley concert takes place in Jacksonville, FL

"The $64,000 Question" the popular US television game show starts

James Dean's stars in the movie East of Eden

James Dean killed in car accident near Cholame, California

First Guinness Book of World Records Published

"The Mickey Mouse Club" debuts on ABC

Popular Films

Popular Films


The Quatermass Xperiment

Rebel without a Cause

To Catch A Thief

The Quatermass Xperiment

The seven year itch

Popular TV

The Adventures of Superman

I Love Lucy

Father Knows Best

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet


The $64,000 Question

Popular Singers

Elvis Presley

Bill Haley and the Comets - " Rock Around The Clock"

Chuck Berry

Fats Domino.

The Platters

Part of our 1950s TV page


Lassie an American television series featuring the adventures of Lassie and his human companions which started with 11 year old boy Jeff Miller (1954–1957), seven-year-old Timmy Martin (1957–1964) after that she spent some time with forest rangers and the final years as a companion at a children's home. Series ran from 1954 till 1973.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger an American television series featuring The Lone Ranger ( masked Texas Ranger ) with his White Horse Silver and his Indian sidekick, Tonto fighting the bad guys. Best remembered for the words "Hi-yo, Silver, away!" . The series originally was a Radio series dating back to 1933 . TV Series ran from 1949 till 1954.

United States -- "The $64,000 Question"

"The $64,000 Question" the popular US television game show starts.

More Information for the $64,000 Question.

In June the popular game show "The $64,000 Question" debuted on CBS. Based on the radio quiz show "Take It or Leave It," it was created by Louis G. Cowan who had also created several popular radio quiz shows like "Quiz Kids." Contestants on the game show boasted specialized knowledge in specific areas of expertise such as spelling or Shakespeare. The suspenseful format of the show meant that they would compete week to week building up their winnings until they reached the final round. The show became extremely popular but the success was relatively short-lived and it ended in 1958 when it was revealed that several popular game shows had been rigged.

United States -- "Gunsmoke"

The popular Western show "Gunsmoke" debuts on television.

More Information for the Gunsmoke Television show.

The classic television show "Gunsmoke" made its debut on CBS during September . The popular Western starred James Arness in the lead role of "Marshal Matt Dillon" and plot lines focused on him keeping order in Dodge City, Kansas during the Old West era. The television show was adapted from a popular radio serial with the same name that ran from 1952 to 1961. Gunsmoke, the TV show, became immensely popular and ran for twenty seasons until 1975, making it the longest running scripted show from the United States during the 20th century. The show featured several other talented actors including Amanda Blake, Burt Reynolds, Milburn Stone, and Dennis Weaver.

UK -- Guinness Book of World Records

First Guinness Book of World Records Published.

More Information and Timeline for Guinness Book of World Records

The very first edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published on August 27th in the United Kingdom. The United States version was not released until the next year. The chairman of the Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, came up with the idea for the records book in 1951 and by 1954 he had enlisted Norris and Ross McWhirter to create the records book. The book was a huge hit and a best-seller almost immediately after its release as it became the go-to Christmas gift.

United States -- Disneyland

Disneyland opens in California on July 17th.

More Information for Disneyland.

The Disneyland resort and theme park, located in Anaheim, California, opened its doors in July . Walt Disney grew his animation company throughout the 1930s and by the early 1950s he had started to plan the construction of a theme park to be built on 160 acres of land near Los Angeles. Construction on the park began in 1954 and by July it was nearly complete. An invite-only opening was held on July 17th, but thousands more people than expected showed up to the event with counterfeit tickets. Although Disneyland was not ready for the full opening on that day, the park recovered and was officially opened to the public in the following days.

Part of our 1950s Home Appliances

1953 TV-Radio-Phono Combination 1953 TV-Radio-Phono Combination
Price: $534.95
Truly an ideal gift the whole family will enjoy for years. The best Silvertone twenty-one inch S.R.O. TV with long-distance AM/FM radio and three-speed automatic phonograph in a massive, modern cabinet. All-Channel TV chassis tunes any of the twelve VHF and seventy UHF stations in your area. No converters or adaptors needed. Modern design hardwood veneer cabinet is hand rubbed and comes in mahogany or limed oak veneer.


The United States begins its involvement in the Vietnam conflict.

More Information and Timeline for U.S. Involvement with Vietnam.

The United States involvement in the Vietnam Conflict or Second Indochina War officially began on the first of November 5 with the arrival of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (M.A.A.G.) in South Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese military after the French left the conflict. While the date of the true beginning of the Vietnam War could be debated as earlier or later, November 1, is the earliest date that the United States government uses to qualify a member of the military as being a veteran of the Vietnam War. The war in Vietnam would last until April 30, 1975 when the last of the U.S. military left the embassy in Saigon, making the total length of the United States' involvement in the war nearly twenty years.

United States -- "Peter Pan"

The Broadway musical "Peter Pan" was broadcast live on television.

More Information for the Peter Pan Musical on TV.

The Broadway musical "Peter Pan" was broadcast live on NBC on March 7th . The occasion marked the first time a stage musical was performed on television in almost the exact same way it was performed on stage. The live performance featured most of the original Broadway cast, including Peter Pan portrayer Mary Martin, and it aired only a few days after the show's run on Broadway ended. It was shown as a part of a show called "Producer's Showcase" and drew in 65 million viewers, the largest single episode television audience in history at that time. Actress Mary Martin also won an Emmy for her performance in the live television production of Peter Pan.

Born This Year in 1955

Whoopi Goldberg

November 13th, Chelsea, New York, NY

Olga Korbut

May 16 Grodno, Belarus

Steve Jobs

February 24th, San Francisco, CA

Bill Gates

October 28th, Seattle, WA

Rowan Atkinson

January 6th, Consett, United Kingdom

Bruce Willis

March 19th, Idar-Oberstein, Germany

Kris Jenner

November 5th, San Diego, CA

Calendar For The Year 1955

1955 Calendar


First pocket transistor radios available

Fish Fingers are marketed by Bird's Eye

The first Atomically generated power is used in the US

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
Atomic Clock England
Hovercraft England by Christopher Cockerell
Lego Gotfried Kirk Christiansen
Velcro Switzerland by George De Mestral

U.S. Emmett Till

Emmett Till, a black fourteen year old teenager is murdered for not showing respect to a white woman in Money, Miss.

Germany NATO

West Germany Joins NATO

Argentina Juan Peron

The Military seizes control in Argentina forcing Juan Peron to flee

UK Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis the last woman in England to be executed is hung at Holloway Prison

France 24hr Le Mans

77 Die in a disaster at 24hr Le Mans Race

World Polyurethane

The New Synthetic Material Polyurethane used in more and more everyday goods

UK winter storms

Great Britain effected by worst winter storms causing roads, rail and problems with food and medical supplies

U.S. Disneyland

Disneyland opens in California on July 17th

U.S. Flight 629

United Airlines Flight 629 is blown up shortly after takeoff over Longmont, Colorado

UK Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret announces she will not marry divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend.

Canada St. Lawrence Seaway

The St. Lawrence Seaway opens to Ocean Vessels from Montreal to US ports on the Great Lakes

UK Fleet Street

British Newspapers Not Printed for 1 month due to strike in Fleet Street By Maintenance Workers

UK Clement Attlee

Clement Attlee who oversaw the creation of the British Welfare System resigns as leader of the Labour Party

Middle East cooperative pact

Middle Eastern nations and the United Kingdom form a cooperative pact similar to NATO.

Iran military intervention

US military intervention in Iran

U.S. Hurricane Diane

Hurricane Diane hits the northeast United States, killing 200 and causing over $1 billion in damage

UK State of Emergency

Great Britain declares State of Emergency due to National Rail Strike

UK Commercial TV Station

The first Commercial TV Station with advertisements starts in London, England

Major World Political Leaders

Australia -- Prime Minister - Sir Robert Menzies --

Brazil -- President - Café Filho -- Till 9 November

Brazil -- President - Carlos Luz -- From 9 November

Brazil -- President - Carlos Luz -- Till 11 November

Brazil -- President - Nereu Ramos -- From 11 November

Canada -- Prime Minister - Louis St. Laurent --

China -- Chairman of the People's Republic of China - Mao Zedong --

France -- President - René Coty --

Germany -- Chancellor - Konrad Adenauer --

India -- Prime Minister - Jawahar Lal Nehru --

Italy -- Prime Minister - Mario Scelba -- Till 2 July

Italy -- Prime Minister - Antonio Segni -- From 6 July

Japan -- Prime Minister - Ichiro Hatoyama --

Mexico -- President - Adolfo Ruiz Cortines --

Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union - Nikita Khrushchev --

South Africa -- Prime Minister - Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom --

United States -- President - Dwight D. Eisenhower --

United Kingdom -- Prime Minister - Sir Winston Churchill -- Till 7 April

United Kingdom -- Prime Minister - Sir Anthony Eden -- From 7 April